With its leather upholstery and elegant interior accoutrements, the Lincoln Town Car has remained one of the best-selling American luxury sedans since its introduction in 1981. Sadly, due in large part to its blasé exterior styling, most sales went to chauffeur-driven limousine companies, and Lincoln’s consumer image suffered in the luxury market.
But that is the past: The 2009 Lincoln MKS combines traditional design cues with future technology, and it’s intended to reestablish the Ford luxury brand as a legitimate competitor against European and Japanese automakers. The chrome grille evokes the front fascia of the 1941 Lincoln Continental, while large C-pillars convey a throwback to the third-generation Continental of the 1960s. Fob-activated keyless entry and a push-button starter allow the driver to enter the car and start it without ever taking the key out of pocket. Front-mounted sensors enable the adaptive cruise control to adjust to the flow of traffic by braking and accelerating without driver intervention. Lincoln has also taken the interior technology to next level by incorporating the second-generation of Sync—Ford’s vastly popular voice-activation system—and a 14-speaker THS surround system. Real-time traffic reports are displayed on an eight-inch navigation screen that can be activated through touch-screen or voice-command functions. Lincoln hasn’t forgotten its role in the chauffeur marketplace either: Heated rear seats come standard, and the rear bench is lifted to emulate theater-style seating for better forward visibility. The Lincoln MKS will arrive in showrooms late this summer with a 3.7-liter V6 producing 270 horsepower and a base price of $38,000. An optional twin-turbocharged, direct-injection Eco-Boost power-plant system will offer better fuel mileage and up to 340 hp for the 2010 model. Says Lincoln spokesman, Octavio Navarro, “This is the future of Lincoln, and all of our new cars will begin to adopt this DNA.”